NEWS

The imbalance in Greece’s water reserves

Although the level of Greece’s water reserves has risen in recent years, too little has been done to protect those reserves from pollution. In many parts of the country, the water supply is sufficient to meet the needs of the population (in Attica, the Athens Water Company, EYDAP, has seven times the volume of water reserves it had in 1993), but some areas, such as Thessaly, are still facing shortages. Wastage continues and in many parts of the country infrastructure works aimed at exploiting surface water have not been carried out, so more groundwater is being drilled for. The earth is literally drying up. Aside from the quantity, nothing is being done about water quality. The unrestricted use of fertilizers and pesticides in farming and unprocessed urban waste are polluting the water table, lakes and rivers. The problem is far from a local one. More than 1.1 billion people in developing countries, including 400 million children, have no access to clean water to meet their most basic needs. According to UNICEF, over 4,000 children die every day from waterborne illnesses. Meanwhile the ever-increasing need for drinking water, which in many countries is an endangered resource, is unavoidably leading to what are initially diplomatic clashes, but which many people fear will soon develop into military conflict. Former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros Ghali once warned that if there is no equitable sharing of the waters of the Nile, a war between the countries in the area will be inevitable.